Doctor Who: The Web of Fear (part two)

“This isn’t good and it isn’t exciting,” our son tells us, “but it is creepy and it is scary!” I beg to differ. I think it’s very exciting!

It’s also funny. There’s a great tension-relaxing bit where two soldiers share their theories about what their opponents are, and I love the part where Professor Travers explains that the much younger Victoria was born before he was.

Interestingly, this story is quite plainly set in 1975 or later. The year of the Doctor’s first meeting with Professor Travers is clearly said to be both “in 1935” and “over forty years ago.” Now, the following season, “The Invasion” will be set in 1979, placing the Pertwee years into the early eighties, each story about ten years ahead of its broadcast date. But then there’s an accidental retcon in season thirteen’s “Pyramids of Mars,” in which Sarah Jane Smith says that she is from 1980, not ’85. And then in season twenty, a deliberate retcon in “Mawdryn Undead” reset all of these earthbound adventures to their original date of broadcast or thereabout. Anybody who enjoys this kind of shenanigans can find very, very detailed web pages full of discussion about every possible “clue” in the series. I just find it more amusing to pretend that Travers said “over thirty years ago,” and keep this story in the swinging sixties.

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